First of all, Promote Ukraine stands on the position of the expression of the fundamental right of freedom of speech. We defend the right for the “alternative point of view” and support an open discussion of controversial issues in society.
We highly appreciate the attention of the Dutch and other European media to Ukraine, as this contributes to the development of Ukrainian society in the direction of freedom and democracy.
For two years we have monitored the European press on the issues of Ukraine to be able to inform Ukrainian society on the opinion of Europeans about the situation in Ukraine (http://www.promoteukraine.org/european-media-on-ukraine.html). Additionally, we have contributed to the EU vs Disinfocampaign with news items which we considered to contain one or more elements of disinformation.
Since last week some of the Dutch media outlets have pointed out several of our contributions to the East Stratcom Disinfo Review as irrelevant to what is defined as disinformation.
In our understanding disinformation can be defined as news items or stories (not opinion columns) which contain one or more of below mentioned elements: open lies, twisted facts, half-truths, absence of balanced opinions or manipulations of facts. All of these elements can be considered to be in conflict with journalism and unbiased informing, regardless of the reasons that caused these elements to appear in the informational material.
In the dubious reports which are now a subject of the discussion we have indeed seen one or more of the above mentioned elements which caused a warped picture of Ukraine on the eve of the referendum on Association Agreement. Though this time it was of critical importance to deliver unbiased and factual information about Ukraine to the Dutch society, there was no alternative point of view given on Ukrainian issues in the mentioned publications, instead a number of Russian propaganda theses were replicated (fascists, corruption, etc. in Ukraine).
In the world of media, one-sided articles should either be marked "opinion" or the author should investigate further to deliver quality content to readers. Attention-grabbing titles/subtitles can attract readers, but at the same time they can twist the picture.
We don’t dare evaluate what the reason was for the Dutch articles to contain the above-mentioned elements, but it is our right as volunteers of a non-governmental organization to report these cases to the ESTF.
Though there were many more cases with original sources in English and Dutch, four of them caused doubts. We want to stress that our aim was to show elements of disinformation in Dutch media rather than criticize the media itself.
Our position on the controversial news items is as follows ((considering political and informational context of 2015-2016)):
This article attempts to mislead. In the article, you read thatUkraine is an oligarch state with no independent media. In addition, the subtitle “ISIS works with Ukrainian army” can mislead not only non-native Dutch speakers, but Dutch people as well. As we know, many readers scan only the headlines and subtitles.
In this case, a pure retranslation of the Russian propaganda thesis which was distributed in Russian media has occurred. At the same time no background information (other point of view) was given. Thus, the readers are at risk of being under the impression that this is the right statement, even though we know that independent investigators have came to the opposite conclusions.
The headline "Right extremists are taking power in Ukraine" doesn't correspond to reality. Trying to show strengthening of the ultra-right parties in Ukraine it is said that there are 36 MEP’s of Svoboda in the Ukrainian parliament, but in fact there are only 6. The right parties in Ukraine have lost most of the seats in the last elections after EuroMaidan. So, one can hardly speak about the strengthening of their positions in power. There had been given a picture of right-extremist Ukraine without any opposite point of view for example that most of Ukrainians are far away from these ideas.
4. http://www.geenstijl.nl/mt/archieven/2015/11/27_november_president_porosjen.html Quite an emotional article with no place for an alternative point of view. “En als Oekraïne zélf iets aantoont, is het wel dat er ook geen Europese waarden bestaan” - in this statement the author ignores the events of EuroMaidan and Ukrainian aspiration to European values only speaking about corruption, prostitution and other cliches of Russian propaganda.
The Crisis in Ukraine: Its Legal Dimensions in French Thanks to Veronika Usova and Stanislav Yeremitsa we translated the summary of the legal review on Ukrainian crisis prepared by Razom for Ukraine into French for the Belgian frenchspeaking audience. You can find the original paper in English here. For French version click here.
Bank account: BE 65001728122896 Promote Ukraine VZW, Relegem, Belgium Reg. 0552.564.062